For years Google has been testing placing the URL at the top of the search result snippet. Google also has been testing favicons near the URL as well for years. Google has also been testing a black ad label. Now it is officially all live in the main mobile search results.
And guess what, many in the SEO community believe it was done to confuse the searcher into thinking the ads are organic results. And I am not sure I disagree – it does seem to do that. The truth is, many of these UI changes like this seem to all try to improve the CTR on search ads. But hey – Google is saying this is not to confuse but rather Google said “With this new design, a website’s branding can be front and center, helping you better understand where the information is coming from and what pages have what you’re looking for. “
Here is the comparison (click to enlarge):
Here is what some are saying about how it blends with the ads:
Is it just me? The new “Ad” display seems to blend in even more and make it less obvious that it’s an ad, not an organic result. https://t.co/AQqp9jGwGw
— Matt McGee (@mattmcgee) May 22, 2019
Google adding brand icons into mobile search results. I would bet asking a group of average users, they’d be hard pressed to guess which listings were ads & which generic. pic.twitter.com/LAG3Z42WaR
— dan barker (@danbarker) May 22, 2019
Dark pattern design in action – Google about to hide “ads” by giving every result a similar-looking, similarly-placed icon https://t.co/72T2zErG4w
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) May 22, 2019
Google hiding the ad label a little further.
Next step light grey? pic.twitter.com/KStBzx3k2M
— Thomasbcn (@Thomasbcn) May 23, 2019
What do you think?
Forum discussion at Twitter.